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Isaiah 30:18-33

Context
The Lord Will Not Abandon His People

30:18 For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy;

he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. 1 

Indeed, the Lord is a just God;

all who wait for him in faith will be blessed. 2 

30:19 For people will live in Zion;

in Jerusalem 3  you will weep no more. 4 

When he hears your cry of despair, he will indeed show you mercy;

when he hears it, he will respond to you. 5 

30:20 The sovereign master 6  will give you distress to eat

and suffering to drink; 7 

but your teachers will no longer be hidden;

your eyes will see them. 8 

30:21 You 9  will hear a word spoken behind you, saying,

“This is the correct 10  way, walk in it,”

whether you are heading to the right or the left.

30:22 You will desecrate your silver-plated idols 11 

and your gold-plated images. 12 

You will throw them away as if they were a menstrual rag,

saying to them, “Get out!”

30:23 He will water the seed you plant in the ground,

and the ground will produce crops in abundance. 13 

At that time 14  your cattle will graze in wide pastures.

30:24 The oxen and donkeys used in plowing 15 

will eat seasoned feed winnowed with a shovel and pitchfork. 16 

30:25 On every high mountain

and every high hill

there will be streams flowing with water,

at the time of 17  great slaughter when the fortified towers collapse.

30:26 The light of the full moon will be like the sun’s glare

and the sun’s glare will be seven times brighter,

like the light of seven days, 18 

when the Lord binds up his people’s fractured bones 19 

and heals their severe wound. 20 

30:27 Look, the name 21  of the Lord comes from a distant place

in raging anger and awesome splendor. 22 

He speaks angrily

and his word is like destructive fire. 23 

30:28 His battle cry overwhelms like a flooding river 24 

that reaches one’s neck.

He shakes the nations in a sieve that isolates the chaff; 25 

he puts a bit into the mouth of the nations and leads them to destruction. 26 

30:29 You will sing

as you do in the evening when you are celebrating a festival.

You will be happy like one who plays a flute

as he goes to the mountain of the Lord, the Rock who shelters Israel. 27 

30:30 The Lord will give a mighty shout 28 

and intervene in power, 29 

with furious anger and flaming, destructive fire, 30 

with a driving rainstorm and hailstones.

30:31 Indeed, the Lord’s shout will shatter Assyria; 31 

he will beat them with a club.

30:32 Every blow from his punishing cudgel, 32 

with which the Lord will beat them, 33 

will be accompanied by music from the 34  tambourine and harp,

and he will attack them with his weapons. 35 

30:33 For 36  the burial place is already prepared; 37 

it has been made deep and wide for the king. 38 

The firewood is piled high on it. 39 

The Lord’s breath, like a stream flowing with brimstone,

will ignite it.

1 tn Heb “Therefore the Lord waits to show you mercy, and therefore he is exalted to have compassion on you.” The logical connection between this verse and what precedes is problematic. The point seems to be that Judah’s impending doom does not bring God joy. Rather the prospect of their suffering stirs within him a willingness to show mercy and compassion, if they are willing to seek him on his terms.

2 tn Heb “Blessed are all who wait for him.”

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn Heb “For people in Zion will live, in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.” The phrase “in Jerusalem” could be taken with what precedes. Some prefer to emend יֵשֵׁב (yeshev, “will live,” a Qal imperfect) to יֹשֵׁב (yoshev, a Qal active participle) and translate “For [you] people in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.”

5 tn Heb “he will indeed show you mercy at the sound of your crying out; when he hears, he will answer you.”

6 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonai).

7 tn Heb “and the Master will give to you bread – distress, and water – oppression.”

8 tn Heb “but your teachers will no longer be hidden, your eyes will be seeing your teachers.” The translation assumes that the form מוֹרֶיךָ (morekha) is a plural participle, referring to spiritual leaders such as prophets and priests. Another possibility is that the form is actually singular (see GKC 273-74 §93.ss) or a plural of respect, referring to God as the master teacher. See HALOT 560-61 s.v. III מוֹרֶה. For discussion of the views, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:560.

9 tn Heb “your ears” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

10 tn The word “correct’ is supplied in the translation for clarification.

11 tn Heb “the platings of your silver idols.”

12 tn Heb “the covering of your gold image.”

13 tn Heb “and he will give rain for your seed which you plant in the ground, and food [will be] the produce of the ground, and it will be rich and abundant.”

14 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).

15 tn Heb “the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground.”

16 sn Crops will be so abundant that even the work animals will eat well.

17 tn Or “in the day of” (KJV).

18 sn Light here symbolizes restoration of divine blessing and prosperity. The number “seven” is used symbolically to indicate intensity. The exact meaning of the phrase “the light of seven days” is uncertain; it probably means “seven times brighter” (see the parallel line).

19 tn Heb “the fracture of his people” (so NASB).

sn The Lord is here compared to a physician setting a broken bone in a bandage or cast.

20 tn Heb “the injury of his wound.” The joining of synonyms emphasizes the severity of the wound. Another option is to translate, “the wound of his blow.” In this case the pronominal suffix might refer to the Lord, not the people, yielding the translation, “the wound which he inflicted.”

21 sn The “name” of the Lord sometimes stands by metonymy for the Lord himself, see Exod 23:21; Lev 24:11; Pss 54:1 (54:3 HT); 124:8. In Isa 30:27 the point is that he reveals that aspect of his character which his name suggests – he comes as Yahweh (“he is present”), the ever present helper of his people who annihilates their enemies and delivers them. The name “Yahweh” originated in a context where God assured a fearful Moses that he would be with him as he confronted Pharaoh and delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. See Exod 3.

22 tn Heb “his anger burns, and heaviness of elevation.” The meaning of the phrase “heaviness of elevation” is unclear, for מַשָּׂאָה (masaah, “elevation”) occurs only here. Some understand the term as referring to a cloud (elevated above the earth’s surface), in which case one might translate, “and in heavy clouds” (cf. NAB “with lowering clouds”). Others relate the noun to מָשָׂא (masa’, “burden”) and interpret it as a reference to judgment. In this case one might translate, “and with severe judgment.” The present translation assumes that the noun refers to his glory and that “heaviness” emphasizes its degree.

23 tn Heb “his lips are full of anger, and his tongue is like consuming fire.” The Lord’s lips and tongue are used metonymically for his word (or perhaps his battle cry; see v. 31).

24 tn Heb “his breath is like a flooding river.” This might picture the Lord breathing heavily as he runs down his enemy, but in light of the preceding verse, which mentions his lips and tongue, “breath” probably stands metonymically for the word or battle cry that he expels from his mouth as he shouts. In Isa 34:16 and Ps 33:6 the Lord’s “breath” is associated with his command.

25 tn Heb “shaking nations in a sieve of worthlessness.” It is not certain exactly how שָׁוְא (shavÿ’, “emptiness, worthlessness”) modifies “sieve.” A sieve is used to separate grain from chaff and isolate what is worthless so that it might be discarded. Perhaps the nations are likened to such chaff; God’s judgment will sift them out for destruction.

26 tn Heb “and a bit that leads astray [is] in the jaws of the peoples.” Here the nations are likened to horse that can be controlled by a bit placed in its mouth. In this case the Lord uses his sovereign control over the “horse” to lead it to its demise.

27 tn Heb “[you will have] joy of heart, like the one going with a flute to enter the mountain of the Lord to the Rock of Israel.” The image here is not a foundational rock, but a rocky cliff where people could hide for protection (for example, the fortress of Masada).

28 tn Heb “the Lord will cause the splendor of his voice to be heard.”

29 tn Heb “and reveal the lowering of his arm.”

30 tn Heb “and a flame of consuming fire.”

31 tn Heb “Indeed by the voice of the Lord Assyria will be shattered.”

32 tc The Hebrew text has “every blow from a founded [i.e., “appointed”?] cudgel.” The translation above, with support from a few medieval Hebrew mss, assumes an emendation of מוּסָדָה (musadah, “founded”) to מוּסָרֹה (musaroh, “his discipline”).

33 tn Heb “which the Lord lays on him.”

34 tn Heb “will be with” (KJV similar).

35 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “and with battles of brandishing [weapons?] he will fight against him.” Some prefer to emend וּבְמִלְחֲמוֹת (uvÿmilkhamot, “and with battles of”) to וּבִמְחֹלוֹת (uvimkholot, “and with dancing”). Note the immediately preceding references to musical instruments.

36 tn Or “indeed.”

37 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “for arranged from before [or “yesterday”] is [?].” The meaning of תָּפְתֶּה (tafÿteh), which occurs only here, is unknown. The translation above (as with most English versions) assumes an emendation to תֹּפֶת (tofet, “Topheth”; cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) and places the final hey (ה) on the beginning of the next word as an interrogative particle. Topheth was a place near Jerusalem used as a burial ground (see Jer 7:32; 19:11).

38 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “Also it is made ready for the king, one makes it deep and wide.” If one takes the final hey (ה) on תָּפְתֶּה (tafÿteh) and prefixes it to גָּם (gam) as an interrogative particle (see the preceding note), one can translate, “Is it also made ready for the king?” In this case the question is rhetorical and expects an emphatic affirmative answer, “Of course it is!”

39 tn Heb “its pile of wood, fire and wood one makes abundant.”

sn Apparently this alludes to some type of funeral rite.



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